Who Cares was a competition set up to revive existing housing quarters going into decline by finding new ways to incorporate care and welfare into housing. Groningen, Almere, Rotterdam and Sittard-Geleen were the four cities that each chose a neighbourhood within their borders for which the participants could make a design. We sent in our plan for Almere Haven, but the concept can be applied to any quarter.
The goal of our plan was to find a way for elderly people to live at home for as long as possible and for people with restrictions (care groups) to be part of our society. We put together profiles of the elderly people and the care groups to be able to make a design that would fit their needs.
Additionally to updating the physical environment, we also introduced a virtual environment in our plan: an ICT system called WijkCare. The system stimulates and activates the different care groups, by providing them with ways to do more tasks by themselves. If something seems to be off, like the water in the tap keeps running for too long, the system signals this to the nurse. Wijkcare also makes it easier for care groups to seek contact with family, friend or nurse. Communication, activation, signaling.
After some research, we discovered that 60% of the housing stock in The Netherlands is made up out of terraced housing. So replacing them all is not feasible. We decided not to demolish, but to keep the terraced houses in Almere Haven. The houses, initially designed for families after the second world war, needed some adaptions made to them to make them fitted for a society with variabel ways of living, including people who need care. By making a general design for a terraced house in Almere, we simultaneously make a design which can be applied easily on a bigger scale. Our designs for adapting a terraced house in various ways, to serve the needs of the society now, can be applied to other similar quarters as well.
The terraced houses can be optionally adapted based on the needs of the future residents. An elderly person might want to divide his house into two separate apartments. This enables the elderly to live on the ground floor of his house, while the upper level which the person can no longer make us of can be rented out. For people with specific restrictions, a whole block of terraced houses can be transformed into a group house with different studios. Families do not necessarily have to make adaption to a house, but they can choose to make their house more sustainable which will save them money in the long run. Elderly people can for that matter, also decide to make their house more sustainable as well as the housing corporations and care corporations.